Join Pittsfield effort to combat gender violence

To the editor:

On Sept. 15, at Pittsfield's Third Thursday, I'll once again be donning women's shoes and joining hundreds of other men (and women and children), as we walk a mile up and down North Street as participants in the Elizabeth Freeman Center's sixth annual "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes — the International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Abuse and Gender Violence."

We will be walking to raise much-needed funds in support of the vital work that the Elizabeth Freeman Center does in providing services for the survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, and we will be walking to raise awareness that these issues are not just "women's" issues, but issues that affect all of us.

Sexualized violence does not just affect women. It affects the men who care about them, their families, their co-workers and their communities. Statistics show that more than one-third of American women are physically abused, sexually assaulted or stalked sometime in their lifetime; that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to girls and women between the ages of 15 and 44, and is the second leading cause of death for pregnant women.

Lest you think that Berkshire County is immune and the problem is only a "big city" problem, don't be fooled. Berkshire County's rate of restraining orders is 37 percent higher than the state average. That means that someone you know, someone you care about, has been or may become the victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse.


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Please join us on Sept. 15 by walking with us or cheering us on, and by donating to the Elizabeth Freeman Center. Registration and donations can be done online, by visiting the Elizabeth Freeman Center website at Elizabethfreemancenter.org. The site is very user friendly. When you register online, you can set up your own web page so that others can sponsor you. You can even form a fund-raising "team" of your friends, colleagues or co-workers, and see who can raise the most money for this vital cause.

Lanny M. Zuckerman, Pittsfield The writer is a member of the board of the Elizabeth Freeman Center.